Bee-Harming Pesticides Greenlit for Use Again In Post-Brexit UK Stop Pollinators from Sleeping

Bee-Harming Pesticides Greenlit for Use Again In Post-Brexit UK Stop Pollinators from Sleeping

Following the end of Brexit, the UK government announced that they would implement a ban under the European Union on neonicotinoid pesticides, one of the most widely used treatments in agriculture worldwide. New research calls for a U-turn in the decision because of the damage these treatments may already have to the pollinated population. Like humans, pollen like bees need to get enough rest to work, and this new study, published in scientific reports, concludes that neonicotinoids can prevent bees from getting enough Zzzzs.

The negative effects of neonicotinoids on eco-sustainable pollen such as bees and other winged insects are well documented in the scientific community and their use is still widespread. They act on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that respond to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter that affects memory and the sleep-wake cycles.

Proper absorption of acetylcholine by these receptors is necessary for efficient burning and pollination, but pesticides inhibit it, having serious detrimental effects on pollinator health. Using a relative density compared to those employed in agriculture, the study looked at Drosophila memory, circadian rhythms, and sleep effects of flying species of European Union-banned neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and thiacloprid. The UK government has already approved an application in 2021 to allow the use of a product containing thiamethoxam for the treatment of sugar beet seeds, crops that have been infected with the beet yellow virus in recent years.

Different neonicotinoids affect the behavior of flies in different ways; imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam interfere with natural rhythm, sleep and learning. Although it can be hard to imagine a flight to school, memory, and learning are essential for effectively grazing and finding your way home for your own insects like some bee species.

Exposure to the neonicotinoid has only been shown to have a negative effect on sleep. The authors of the study warned that the negative effects of neonicotinoids could have harmful and far-reaching effects on beneficial insects that act as important pollinators.

Co-author Dr Sean Rands, Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, UK, said in a statement, “Bees and bees have similar structures in their brains and the reason these drugs are so bad for bees is that they stop the bees from sleeping properly and are then able to know where the food is in their environment.” “Neonicotinoids are currently banned in the EU and we hope that this will continue in the UK as EU legislation is abandoned.”